Bhairav Kunda is a holy lake deep in the Himalayas and close to the Tibetan border. Visited by Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims who come to pay homage and bathe there during every Bhadra (August) full moon, it is a spiritual trek where you visit largely untouched traditional villages in a spectacular Himalayan landscape.
Off the beaten track, you have views across into Tibet. You follow what was once an old trade route between Nepal and Tibet to the Tibetan Border passing many small villages inhabited by mainly Gurungs, Newar and Sherpa people. You trek through thick alpine forests of rhododendron and oak where if you are very lucky, you might spot a rare Red Panda, snow leopard, or Himalayan black bear. Along the way you have good views of Dorje Lakpa (6966m), Madiya (6257m), and Phurbi Ghhyachu (6637m) in the Jugal Himal range
Trek grade: This is a grade 3 trek as you climb up to 4300m. However, the days of walking are not long, typically less than 5 hours and mostly under 3000m.
|Day 1||Arrive in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu sightseeing|
|Day 3||Drive to Borderlands (1900m, 3-4 hours)|
|Day 4||Trek to Duganagadi Fortress (2400m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 5||Trek to Gyasosakh (2900m, 4-5 hrs)|
|Day 6||Trek to Phunboche Dada (3800m, 5 hrs)|
|Day 7||Trek to Bhairav Kunda Lake (4300m, 2-3 hrs)|
|Day 8||Trek to Chagam (2200m, 5 hrs)|
|Day 9||Trek to Listi (2180m, 4 hrs)|
|Day 10||Trek to Borderlands (1900m, 5 hrs)|
|Day 11||Drive to Kathmandu (3-4 hrs)|
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail condRead More...
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
The trekking day
Your day starts with a wake-up call, followed by breakfast and baggage pickup. You are then driven to the start point of your trek. While trekking, your day starts with breakfast at the tea house where you are staying. You need to pack up your baggage before breakfast as porters usually set off early.
Normally you are on the trail by 8 am and stop for a leisurely lunch around noon, with the chance to stop along the way for short breaks. Lunchtime usually lasts a couple of hours to give you time to relax or to explore the village where you have stopped. The afternoon walk is shorter and you can expect to arrive around 4 pm to allow time for short excursions to nearby sites, monasteries, exploration of the village or for relaxing with a book or catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around, 7 pm.
Everyone walks at different speeds and you should always go at the pace that is comfortable for you. The grade of the trek is only an approximate indication of what to expect, based on the altitude and the hours of walking per day. In general, the condition of trails is good as these are the main routes between villages.
What you carry?
Each porter carries 15kg so you should pack 7.5 kgs of baggage, sharing one porter between two persons. These things will not be available to you during the day as the porters usually leave early and do not walk with you. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This should consist of warm clothes for when you stop, a water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve and maybe waterproofs depending on when you’re trekking. Your guide will let you know each evening about any extra items you might need for the following day. You should take a comfortable daypack to carry just a few kilograms of things you need along the way.
Food and drink
No meals are included in your trek. These are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis that may sometimes have quite limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges along the way while you are trekking. Meals are generally simple but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu or Pokhara. Although mineral water in plastic bottles can be found along the way in many places, you should try to avoid using this. Plastic bottles are a serious problem on the trekking routes as there is no way to dispose of them. Instead, you should use water purification tablets, a water filter or ask for boiled water at the lodges. It is a good idea to bring a heat resistant, a water bottle which can double up as a hot water bottle when you go to bed at night too!
It is not recommended to drink alcohol at altitudes above 3,000m or so, where altitude sickness can start to have an effect.
Accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. It is a good idea to pack wet-wipes to freshen up, especially useful when you reach high altitudes where the water can be very cold. It is not recommended to wash your hair when you are at higher altitudes and where the outside air is cold, as you run the risk of getting a chill when your wet hair takes a long time to dry.
Lodges usually have a common room where later in the day, when people start to arrive from their day’s trek there might be a stove that is lit to keep warm. Bedrooms, however, are not heated. The lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport are on foot, or in some cases by horse, with mules or donkeys sometimes carrying baggage. On most trekking routes, your baggage will be carried by the porters. You should ensure that anything you might need during the day is in your day pack as you will not see the baggage that is being carried again until the end of each day.
You will be provided with government licensed, experienced trek guided assisted by the porters who transport your baggage with one porter for every two trekkers. The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looks after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns or questions. Our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you should remember that they are local guides and their English may sometimes be quite basic and limited to trek related topics. Usually, porters will have a more basic understanding of English. Please try to speak slowly and clearly to make communication easier.
Trek grading and preparation
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down, often at altitude. Altitude affects everyone differently, and even if it has not affected you much before, each time can be quite different in how it affects you.
Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is a good idea. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots to be sure that they fit well and are comfortable. Try to use hiking boots that you have already broken in to avoid blisters. Remember that the trek should be fun and you should go at your own pace.
It is best to bring cash in major currencies such as the US, Canadian or Australian dollars, Euros, or Pounds. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest about USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and Pokhara and USD 30 – 35 per day whilst trekking. If you drink or smoke you need to allow a bit more.
You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara but there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Please note, as you will be often trekking through valleys and will not always be close to mobile towers, mobile phone reception can be very patchy. NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, but sometimes the signal can be very weak. Usually, lodges have powerpoint’s to recharge your mobile, although this sometimes can be at an extra charge.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups which will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Be careful to check the small print of your insurance regarding altitude as some policies only provide cover up to 2000m.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. Your health condition must be sound as you will be climbing to above 4000m. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travel in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses)
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the effects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. There is a possibility of AMS in any trek that passes through altitudes above 4000 meters.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, trekking routes are often passed through a range of altitudes from 850m upwards. Between, about 2700m and 3000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and you should expect a cool summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Above 3000m, even if the daytime is sunny and quite warm, the temperature will drop sharply as soon as the sun goes down.
The weather in the mountains is notoriously changeable, so always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for almost all treks and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. The Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) is essential for the record of Nepal Tourism Board keeping in mind about probable hazards to occur. You need to provide your full name, nationality, home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit. Royal Mountain Travel also pays any fees required for entry to national parks, conservation areas or restricted areas.
Packing for your trek
You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
You should limit your baggage to about 7kg. You will find the following items useful.
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrive in Kathmandu
Your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport is an experience in itself. But don’t be worried by the apparent confusion as your airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so.
The day is spent visiting some of the major World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu. More…
You will have plenty of time in the afternoon to prepare for your trek and check that you have everything you need. You might want to visit Thamel, the tourist hub of Nepal, where you can easily find all you need for trekking. Or if you just want to relax, there are many cafes and bakeries serving excellent local tea and coffee. It is best to avoid the street food, however, unless you have a very strong stomach. It is recommended that you have an early night as you will have an early start in the morning.
Drive to Borderlands (1900m, 3-4 hours)
You are driven from Kathmandu to The Borderland Riverside Resort, not far from the Tibetan border. Relax in hammocks listening to the sound of the Bhote Kosi river rushing by. This peaceful resort is the perfect place to unwind.
Trek to Duganagadi Fortress (2400m, 3 hrs)
After a leisurely start to the day, after lunch, you take a 25-minute bus ride to the Larcha suspension bridge and start your trek. From here your trail passes a number of small Buddhist villages, past kittens and homes of Sherpa people. This historic trail was once the old trade route between Nepal and Tibet. You hike for about three hours to reach the Duganagadi Fortress, a maze of crumbling walls strategically situated on a plateau. From here you see Tibetan snowcapped peaks. At night the lights of ZhangMu, the first Tibetan town north of the Friendship Bridge can be seen in the distance. The fortress was built by the Nepali army in 1854 to help in the attack of Bhot, a region in Tibet.
Trek to Gyasosakh (2900m, 4-5 hrs)
From the fortress, you follow the path through the gateway that is adorned with religious paintings and a colourful mandala on the roof. The trail ascends to the ‘way of the dead’, a route that was used when local people carried dead bodies to their religious funeral ceremony. The path passes through a dense, lush forest. Along the route you pass Tasitham, a charming village adorned with fluttering prayer flags. Your campsite is located on a ridge that overlooks the “white lakes”: rows of mountains, each divided by waves of clouds that create an illusion of beautiful white lakes.
Trek to Phunboche Dada (3800m, 5 hrs)
You continue trekking through thick forests of old twisted tree-trunks, draped in moss and numerous species of ferns and other flora. In the spring, the rhododendrons are in full bloom. From your campsite, the views of the Tibetan Himalayan range are breathtaking.
Trek to Bhairav Kunda Lake (4300m, 2-3 hrs)
Today is a short day and you hike through a rhododendron forest and after emerging from above the tree line, you contour around the side of the mountain up to Bhairav Kunda. This is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Shamans. Every August during the full moon, devotees make their way to this holy mountain lake to worship and bathe. At 6966m Dorje Lakpa resembles an inverted shark’s tooth looming in the distance. Your campsite is beside the lake and a nearby gompa.
Trek to Chagam (2200m, 5 hrs)
In the morning, you take a half-hour walk up the hill above the lake for amazing views of the Langtang range to the west, and the Tibetan Himalayan range to the east. You trek through a rocky alpine environment and pass numerous mani walls made of stones carved with Tibetan Buddhist prayers. After a few hours hiking in this unspoilt area, there is a steep descent down the ridge towards the village of Chagam.
Trek to Listi (2180m, 4 hrs)
One of the highlights of this trek is a visit to an ani gompa (nunnery). You visit this nunnery that is home to 300 nuns. Some travel from as far away as Ladakh in India to study and meditate here. The layout of the village is unusual in that each nun has her own house, which painted in different colours, creates a colourful sight with red, yellow, green and white homes scattered around the hillside. Much of today’s walk is along steep terraces with wide-open views of the valley.
Trek to Borderlands (1900m, 5 hrs)
After Listi, it is a long, steep descent back to The Borderlands Resort. Along the route, you will pass houses that cling to the sides of the mountains and terraces with sheer drops. On the final approach to the Bhote Kosi, there are outstanding views of the valley. Upon reaching the river, you cross a small bridge over the Kaule Khola, a premier adventure canyon. You return to the resort in the afternoon: a perfect time to relax, have a drink and rest in a hammock after your long trek.
Drive to Kathmandu (3-4 hrs)
After lunch at Borderlands drive to Kathmandu. You have the morning free to relax and in the afternoon you are driven back to Kathmandu.
The last day and it is time to depart. Confirm your flight time with your leader who will arrange your transport to the airport. If you have some extra time to stay in Nepal and would like more information on what to do, your leader can help you with any arrangements you want to make.